Canaries, Spain – A Paradise Destination for Nature Lovers and Beach Enthusiasts

If you are looking for a unique and breathtaking vacation destination, the Canary Islands in Spain should be at the top of your list. The Canary Islands, also known as the Canaries, are a group of seven volcanic islands located off the northwest coast of Africa.

With their stunning natural beauty, year-round warm climate, and diverse range of activities, the Canaries offer something for everyone. Whether you’re a beach lover, nature enthusiast, or history buff, the Canaries have it all.

The Canaries are famous for their incredible beaches, boasting golden sands and crystal-clear turquoise waters. From the popular beaches in Tenerife and Gran Canaria to the hidden gems in Lanzarote and La Palma, you’ll find a beach to suit every taste.

But the Canaries are not just about beaches. The islands are home to breathtaking natural landscapes, including volcanic landscapes, lush forests, and dramatic cliffs. The Teide National Park in Tenerife is a must-visit for nature lovers, with its volcanic peak, Mount Teide, standing as the highest point in Spain.

For those interested in history and culture, the Canaries offer a rich heritage to explore. The islands have a unique blend of Spanish, African, and Latin American influences, creating a vibrant and diverse culture. From the historic town of La Laguna in Tenerife to the colonial architecture of Las Palmas in Gran Canaria, you’ll find a wealth of cultural attractions.

Whether you’re planning a romantic getaway, a family vacation, or an adventurous trip, the Canary Islands in Spain are sure to exceed your expectations. With their stunning natural beauty, warm climate, and diverse range of activities, the Canaries offer a truly unforgettable experience.

History of the Canaries

The history of the Canary Islands, located off the coast of Spain, dates back thousands of years. The islands were originally inhabited by the Guanches, an indigenous people who lived a simple and autonomous lifestyle. They had their own language, customs, and traditions.

In the 14th century, the islands were conquered by the Kingdom of Castile, and became an important strategic and trading point for Spain. The Spanish established colonies on the islands and brought with them settlers from Europe, Africa, and the Americas.

Spanish Control

During the 15th and 16th centuries, the Canaries became a crucial stopover for Spanish ships traveling to and from the Americas. The islands served as a base for expeditions, and also played a role in the colonization of the New World.

During this time, the Canaries experienced a period of economic growth and prosperity. Trade, agriculture, and fishing flourished, and the islands became known for their luxury goods, such as sugar, wine, and tobacco.

Modern Era

In the 20th century, the Canaries went through a period of political and social change. The islands became an important tourist destination, attracting visitors from all over the world. Today, the tourism industry is a major source of income for the Canaries.

The Canaries also have a unique status within Spain, as they are an autonomous community with their own government and parliament. The islands have a distinctive culture, with a mix of Spanish, Guanche, and other influences.

Over the years, the Canaries have become known for their beautiful landscapes, pleasant climate, and vibrant culture. The islands offer a wide range of activities and attractions, including stunning beaches, volcanic landscapes, and charming towns and villages.

Visitors to the Canaries can explore the rich history and heritage of the islands, visit ancient Guanche sites, and learn about the unique traditions and customs of the local people. Whether you’re interested in history, nature, or simply relaxing on the beach, the Canaries have something to offer everyone.


The history of the Canaries is a fascinating tale of conquest, colonization, and cultural exchange. From its ancient Guanche roots to its modern status as a tourist paradise, the Canaries have a rich and diverse history that continues to captivate visitors from around the world.

Geographical Location of the Canaries

The Canary Islands, also known as the Canaries, are a group of volcanic islands located in Spain’s territory. They consist of seven main islands, which are Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, Fuerteventura, La Palma, La Gomera, and El Hierro.

The Canaries are situated in the Atlantic Ocean, about 100 kilometers west of the southern coast of Morocco. Their geographical location grants them a mild and pleasant climate all year round, making them a popular tourist destination.

These islands are part of the Macaronesia region, which also includes Madeira, Azores, and Cape Verde. The Canary Islands are of volcanic origin, and their diverse landscapes range from sandy beaches and deep ravines to stunning mountains and lush forests.

Tenerife, the largest of the Canary Islands, is home to Mount Teide, the highest peak in Spain. Gran Canaria offers a mix of beautiful beaches and vibrant cities like Las Palmas. Lanzarote is known for its unique volcanic landscape and impressive Timanfaya National Park. Fuerteventura boasts stunning sand dunes and crystal-clear waters.

La Palma is often considered one of the most beautiful islands, with breathtaking viewpoints and an abundance of natural beauty. La Gomera is known for its lush forests and peaceful atmosphere. El Hierro is the smallest and most remote of the islands, offering a tranquil getaway.

In summary, the Canary Islands are a captivating destination with a unique geographical location that sets them apart. Their volcanic origin, pleasant climate, and diverse landscapes make them a must-visit for any traveler seeking natural beauty and tranquility.

Natural Attractions of the Canaries

The Canaries, located in the Atlantic Ocean off the northwest coast of Africa, is an archipelago known for its diverse and breathtaking natural attractions. From volcanic landscapes to pristine beaches, the islands offer a wide range of outdoor activities and sights for nature lovers.

One of the most famous natural attractions in the Canaries is the Teide National Park, home to Mount Teide, the highest peak in Spain. This impressive volcano is a UNESCO World Heritage site and offers stunning views of the surrounding landscapes. Hiking trails of varying difficulty levels allow visitors to explore the park and discover its unique flora and fauna.

Another must-see natural wonder in the Canaries is the Timanfaya National Park in Lanzarote. This lunar-like landscape was formed by volcanic eruptions in the 18th century and offers a truly otherworldly experience. Visitors can take a guided tour through the park’s geothermal region, where they can witness the heat of the volcano just below the surface.

The Canaries are also known for their beautiful beaches, some of which are considered among the best in Europe. Playa de las Teresitas in Tenerife is a stunning golden sand beach that stretches for over a mile and is surrounded by palm trees. Playa del Duque, also in Tenerife, is a luxurious beach with crystal-clear waters and a picturesque promenade.

If you’re looking for a more adventurous experience, the Canaries offer opportunities for various outdoor activities such as hiking, surfing, and diving. The islands are known for their excellent diving spots, where you can explore vibrant coral reefs and encounter a wide variety of marine life.

In conclusion, the natural attractions of the Canaries are truly remarkable. From volcanic landscapes to pristine beaches, this archipelago offers something for everyone. Whether you’re a nature lover or an adventure enthusiast, the Canaries are sure to leave a lasting impression.

Climate of the Canaries

The Canary Islands, located off the coast of Spain, have a unique and pleasant climate that attracts visitors from around the world. The islands are known for their year-round warm weather and mild temperatures, making them an ideal destination for those seeking a sunny getaway.

The climate in the Canaries is influenced by the warm waters of the Canary Current and the trade winds from the northeast. These factors combined create a subtropical climate with pleasant temperatures and low humidity.

The average temperatures in the Canaries range from 18°C (64°F) in winter to 24°C (75°F) in summer, providing a comfortable environment for both outdoor activities and relaxation on the pristine beaches. The islands also benefit from approximately 3,000 hours of sunshine per year, making them one of the sunniest spots in Europe.


Due to the diverse geography of the Canary Islands, microclimates can be found throughout the archipelago. The islands are characterized by volcanic peaks, dense forests, and sandy beaches, each offering a unique climate and landscape.

In the eastern part of the islands, where Lanzarote and Fuerteventura are located, the climate is arid and desert-like. The temperatures are warm throughout the year, with very little rainfall.

In contrast, the western islands, such as Tenerife and La Palma, have a more moderate and subtropical climate. These islands benefit from higher rainfall and cooler temperatures due to their higher elevation.

All-year-round destination

Thanks to its exceptional climate, the Canaries are a popular destination for holidaymakers all year round. The mild winters and warm summers make it a perfect place to escape colder climates during the winter months or enjoy a beach holiday in the summer.

Whether you prefer relaxing on the golden sands, exploring the volcanic landscapes, or engaging in outdoor activities such as hiking or water sports, the Canaries offer something for everyone.

So, if you’re looking for a destination with a pleasant year-round climate, beautiful landscapes, and a relaxed atmosphere, the Canary Islands in Spain should be at the top of your travel list.

Beaches in the Canaries

The Canaries, which are a group of Spanish islands located off the northwest coast of Africa, are known for their stunning beaches. With their year-round warm weather, clear blue waters, and soft golden sands, the beaches in the Canaries are some of the best in Europe.

One of the most famous beaches in the Canaries is Playa de las Teresitas, located on the island of Tenerife. This beach is famous for its beautiful palm trees and golden sand, which was actually imported from the Sahara Desert. With its calm waters and stunning views, it’s no wonder why tourists flock to this beach.

Another popular beach in the Canaries is Playa del Ingles, located on the island of Gran Canaria. This beach is known for its vibrant nightlife scene and its large, sandy beach. With its bustling promenade and wide range of water sports activities, this beach is perfect for those looking for a bit of fun in the sun.

If you’re looking for a more secluded beach, head to La Concha Beach on the island of La Gomera. This beach is located in a natural reserve and is only accessible by boat. With its crystal-clear waters and tranquil atmosphere, it’s the perfect spot to relax and unwind.

Whether you’re looking for a lively beach with plenty of activities or a peaceful spot to soak up the sun, the Canaries have a beach for everyone. So pack your sunscreen and get ready to enjoy the beautiful beaches in the Canaries!

Outdoor Activities in the Canaries

The Canary Islands, also known as the Canaries, offer a wide range of outdoor activities for visitors to enjoy. With their stunning landscapes, mild climate, and diverse ecosystem, these islands are the perfect destination for nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts.

One popular activity in the Canaries is hiking. The islands are home to several beautiful hiking trails that wind through volcanic peaks, lush forests, and rugged coastlines. Whether you’re an experienced hiker or a beginner, there are trails suitable for all levels of fitness. Don’t forget to bring sturdy shoes, sunscreen, and plenty of water!

Another way to explore the natural beauty of the Canaries is by cycling. There are bike rental shops on most of the islands, making it easy to get a bike and hit the trails. From leisurely coastal rides to challenging mountain routes, cyclists of all abilities will find something to suit their taste. The diverse landscapes and breathtaking views make cycling in the Canaries a truly unforgettable experience.

For water lovers, the Canaries offer a variety of aquatic activities. Snorkeling and scuba diving are popular choices, allowing you to discover the vibrant marine life that thrives in the crystal-clear waters. Kayaking and paddleboarding are also great options for exploring the coastline and hidden coves. Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie or simply looking to relax on the beach, there’s something for everyone in the Canaries.

If you’re feeling adventurous, why not try your hand at surfing or windsurfing? The islands’ consistent waves and strong winds make them ideal for these water sports. Surf schools and rental shops can be found on the popular surfing spots, offering lessons for beginners and equipment for rent. Whether you’re a novice or an experienced surfer, the Canaries will provide you with some amazing waves to ride.

With its breathtaking natural beauty and wide range of outdoor activities, the Canaries are a paradise for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers. Whether you prefer hiking through volcanic landscapes, cycling along picturesque trails, or exploring the underwater world, the Canaries offer endless opportunities for outdoor fun and exploration.

Cuisine of the Canaries

The cuisine of the Canaries is a delightful blend of flavors influenced by its unique geographical location and cultural heritage

As the islands are situated in the Atlantic Ocean, seafood plays a prominent role in Canarian cuisine. Freshly caught fish such as grouper, red snapper, and dorado are staples on the menu. These are often grilled or served in stews, such as the popular “sancocho canario”, a traditional fish stew cooked with potatoes, onions, and local spices.

Another must-try dish is “papas arrugadas”, which translates to “wrinkled potatoes”. These small, salt-crusted potatoes are boiled until tender and served with “mojo” sauce. Mojo comes in two varieties: red and green. The red mojo is made from red peppers, garlic, paprika, and olive oil, while the green mojo is made from green peppers, coriander, and garlic. Both sauces add a burst of flavor to the potatoes.

Traditional Meats and Cheeses

In addition to seafood, the Canaries are known for their traditional meats and cheeses. One of the most famous meats is “papas con jamón”, a dish made with cured ham, potatoes, garlic, and local spices. The combination of flavors creates a hearty and delicious meal.

When it comes to cheeses, the Canaries have a wide variety to offer. The most famous is “queso de flor”, a unique cheese made from sheep’s milk and infused with the petals of local flowers. The result is a creamy and aromatic cheese that pairs perfectly with a glass of local wine.

Sweet Delights and Tropical Fruits

No meal in the Canaries is complete without indulging in their sweet treats. The islands are famous for their pastries, such as “bienmesabe”, a rich almond dessert, and “quesadilla”, a sweet, thin pastry filled with a creamy cheese mixture.

When it comes to fruits, the Canaries are blessed with a tropical climate, which allows for the cultivation of a wide variety of fruits, including bananas, mangoes, and avocados. These fruits are often used in desserts or enjoyed on their own, providing a refreshing and healthy option.

Overall, the cuisine of the Canaries is a true reflection of the islands’ rich culture and natural resources. With its fresh seafood, traditional meats and cheeses, and delightful sweets, the Canarian cuisine is sure to satisfy any food lover’s palate.

Local Culture of the Canaries

The Canary Islands, located off the coast of Spain, have a rich and vibrant local culture that is influenced by a mix of Spanish, African, and Latin American traditions. The islands, known for their breathtaking landscapes and beautiful beaches, also offer a unique cultural experience for visitors.


One of the highlights of the local culture in the Canaries is the food. The islands are famous for their fresh seafood, including delicious fish and succulent shellfish. Visitors can also enjoy traditional dishes such as papas arrugadas (wrinkled potatoes) served with mojo sauce, a spicy and flavorful sauce made with peppers, garlic, and other local ingredients.


Festivals are an important part of the local culture in the Canaries. The islands host a variety of festivals throughout the year, celebrating everything from religious events to local traditions. One of the most famous festivals is the Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, which is considered one of the largest and most vibrant carnivals in the world.

Island Festival
Tenerife Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife
Gran Canaria Carnival of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
Lanzarote Fiesta de Nuestra Señora de Los Dolores

These festivals are a great way to experience the lively atmosphere and traditional music and dance of the Canaries.

Overall, the local culture of the Canaries is a vibrant mix of Spanish, African, and Latin American traditions, reflected in its cuisine and festivals. Visitors to the islands can immerse themselves in this unique culture and experience the beauty of the Canaries.

Festivals and Events in the Canaries

The Canary Islands, or simply the Canaries, are renowned for their vibrant and diverse festival scene. Throughout the year, visitors and locals alike can enjoy a wide range of festivals and events that showcase the unique culture and traditions of the islands.


One of the most anticipated events in the Canaries is the annual Carnival celebration. Each island has its own Carnival, but the biggest and most famous one takes place in Santa Cruz de Tenerife. Carnival in the Canaries is known for its colorful parades, extravagant costumes, and lively street parties. It’s a time when locals and visitors come together to dance, sing, and immerse themselves in the festive atmosphere.

Fiesta de San Juan

Another popular event in the Canaries is the Fiesta de San Juan, which takes place on the night of June 23rd. This traditional celebration marks the beginning of summer and involves bonfires, fireworks, and jumping over the flames for good luck. It’s a magical night where locals and tourists gather on the beaches to enjoy the festivities and welcome the arrival of the summer season.

Music Festivals

The Canaries also host a variety of music festivals throughout the year. From jazz and classical music to electronic and reggae, there’s something for everyone. The Canary Islands Music Festival, held in various locations across the islands, showcases local and international talent and attracts music lovers from all over the world.

La Rama

La Rama is a unique festival celebrated in the town of Agaete on the island of Gran Canaria. During this event, locals gather to carry and wave decorated tree branches in a procession through the streets. The festival is a tribute to the abundance of water on the island and is accompanied by traditional music, dancing, and performances.

These are just a few examples of the vibrant festivals and events that take place in the Canaries throughout the year. Whether you’re interested in music, culture, or simply enjoying a lively atmosphere, the Canaries have something to offer for everyone.

Transportation in the Canaries

When it comes to getting around the Canary Islands, there are several transportation options available to visitors. The canaries archipelago is well connected, making it easy to travel within and between the islands.

The most common mode of transportation in the Canaries is by car. Renting a car gives you the freedom to explore the islands at your own pace and discover hidden gems off the beaten path. The road network is well-maintained and driving is generally easy and safe.

Alternatively, public transportation in the Canaries is reliable and convenient. Buses are the main form of public transportation and they operate regularly, connecting major towns and tourist destinations. There is also a well-developed ferry network that allows you to travel between the islands.

For those looking for a more adventurous way to explore the islands, hiking and cycling are popular options. The canaries offer a variety of scenic trails and cycling routes that allow you to experience the natural beauty of the islands up close.

When planning your trip to the canaries, it is important to take into account the transportation options available and choose the one that best suits your needs and preferences. Whether you prefer the convenience of a rental car or the affordability of public transportation, getting around the canaries is easy and accessible for visitors.

Accommodation Options in the Canaries

When planning a trip to the beautiful islands of the Canaries, there are plenty of accommodation options to choose from. Whether you’re looking for a luxury hotel, a cozy bed and breakfast, or a budget-friendly hostel, the Canaries has something to suit every traveler’s needs.

If you’re looking for a luxurious experience, there are many high-end hotels and resorts scattered throughout the archipelago. These hotels often offer stunning ocean views, lavish amenities, and world-class service. Some of the most popular luxury hotels can be found in the bustling tourist areas of Tenerife and Gran Canaria.

For those who prefer a more intimate and personalized experience, bed and breakfasts are a great option. These charming accommodations are often family-run, providing a warm and welcoming atmosphere. Many bed and breakfasts are located in the picturesque towns and villages of the islands, allowing you to experience the local culture and traditions.

If you’re traveling on a tight budget, there are also plenty of affordable accommodation options available. Hostels offer budget-friendly dormitory-style rooms, perfect for solo travelers or those looking to meet new people. Many hostels in the Canaries also offer private rooms at a slightly higher price, for those who prefer more privacy.

No matter which accommodation option you choose, be sure to book in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons. The Canaries are a popular tourist destination in Spain, and availability can be limited during certain times of the year. So, plan ahead and secure your preferred accommodation to ensure a smooth and enjoyable trip to the beautiful Canaries.

Shopping in the Canaries

The Canaries in Spain offer a fantastic shopping experience for visitors. From bustling markets to modern shopping malls, there is something for everyone.

One of the highlights of shopping in the Canaries is the great selection of duty-free goods. Visitors can find a wide range of products including electronics, designer clothing, perfume, and alcohol at very competitive prices.

The islands are also known for their local crafts and traditional products. Artisanal shops and local markets are the perfect places to find unique souvenirs, such as handmade ceramics, woven rugs, and traditional Canarian clothing.

In addition to shopping for goods, the Canaries are also famous for their fresh produce and local delicacies. Visitors can explore local food markets and try delicious fruits, cheeses, wines, and other specialties.

If you’re looking for a more modern shopping experience, the Canaries have plenty of shopping malls and department stores to choose from. These modern complexes offer a wide range of international brands and boutiques, as well as restaurants and entertainment options.

Whether you’re looking for a unique souvenir, duty-free bargains, local crafts, or a modern shopping experience, the Canaries in Spain have it all. Don’t miss the opportunity to explore the diverse shopping scene while enjoying the beautiful landscapes and sunny weather that the islands have to offer.

Shopping Tips Opening Hours Paying Methods
1. Bargaining is common in markets and smaller shops. Most shops are open from 10am to 9pm, with some closing for siesta. Most places accept credit cards, but it’s always good to have some cash on hand.
2. Check for authenticity when buying designer goods. Shopping malls and department stores have longer opening hours. ATMs can be found throughout the islands for easy cash withdrawals.
3. Don’t forget to claim your tax refund when leaving the country. Some shops may be closed on Sundays. Shop around for the best exchange rates if using cash.

Language and Communication in the Canaries

The official language spoken in the Canaries is Spanish, as the islands are a part of Spain.

However, due to the popularity of the Canaries as a tourist destination, English is widely spoken, especially in tourist areas and hotels. Many locals working in the tourism industry are bilingual and can communicate fluently in English.

It’s always appreciated if visitors to the Canaries make an effort to learn a few basic Spanish phrases before their trip. Locals will often be happy to help you practice your Spanish, and it can enhance your overall experience and interactions with the local community.


While Spanish is the main language, there are also regional dialects spoken in the Canaries. Canarian Spanish has its own unique characteristics, influenced by the archipelago’s history and geographical isolation. Visitors may notice differences in pronunciation and vocabulary compared to traditional Peninsular Spanish.

Sign Language Interpretation

For individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing, it’s important to note that sign language interpretation services are available in some areas of the Canaries. These services can assist with communication in various settings, including hospitals, government offices, and educational institutions. It is recommended to inquire about these services in advance if needed.

Overall, communication in the Canaries is generally accessible and accommodating, especially for tourists who primarily speak English. However, taking the time to learn a few basic Spanish phrases can greatly enhance your experience and interactions with the local culture and community.

Safety Tips for Traveling to the Canaries

When traveling to the beautiful Canaries in Spain, it’s important to keep safety in mind. Here are some important safety tips to ensure a smooth and enjoyable trip:

  • Stay aware of your surroundings at all times, especially in crowded tourist areas.
  • Keep your personal belongings secure and be wary of pickpockets.
  • Make copies of important documents such as your passport and ID, and keep them separate from the originals.
  • If you plan on renting a car, familiarize yourself with local driving laws and be cautious on the roads.
  • Drink responsibly and be aware of your alcohol consumption, especially if you’re participating in water activities or hiking.
  • Keep emergency contact numbers on hand and know the location of the nearest hospitals or medical centers.
  • Protect yourself from the sun by wearing sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses, and staying hydrated.
  • Take caution when swimming in the ocean, as there can be strong currents and undertows.
  • If you plan on hiking or exploring nature trails, inform someone of your plans and be prepared with proper gear.
  • Respect the local culture and customs, and be mindful of the environment by not littering or disturbing wildlife.

By following these safety tips, you can have a worry-free and enjoyable trip to the Canaries in Spain.

Best Time to Visit the Canaries

The best time to visit the Canaries is from October to May. During this time, the islands experience milder temperatures and less crowded tourist attractions.

October, November, and December are especially delightful, with temperatures ranging from 21°C to 26°C (70°F to 78°F). This makes it perfect for beach activities and exploring the beautiful landscapes.

January and February are the coolest months in the Canaries, with temperatures averaging around 17°C to 22°C (63°F to 72°F). However, it is still a great time to visit, as you can enjoy fewer crowds and lower prices on accommodations and activities.

In March, the temperature starts to rise again, reaching an average of 20°C to 24°C (68°F to 75°F). This makes it an ideal time to visit if you’re looking for pleasant weather without the peak season crowds.

April and May are also excellent months to visit the Canaries, with temperatures ranging from 22°C to 26°C (72°F to 78°F). The islands are in full bloom during this time, offering breathtaking scenery and a lively atmosphere.

Overall, the Canaries offer a pleasant climate throughout the year. However, if you want to avoid the summer heat and the peak tourist season, visiting between October and May is your best bet.


What are the Canary Islands?

The Canary Islands are a Spanish archipelago located off the northwest coast of Africa.

How many islands are there in the Canary Islands?

The Canary Islands consist of seven main islands: Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, Fuerteventura, La Palma, La Gomera, and El Hierro.

What is the climate like in the Canary Islands?

The climate in the Canary Islands is subtropical. The islands experience mild winters and warm summers, with an average temperature of around 20°C (68°F) in winter and 26°C (79°F) in summer.

What are the popular tourist attractions in the Canary Islands?

The Canary Islands are renowned for their beautiful beaches, volcanic landscapes, and vibrant nightlife. Popular tourist attractions include Teide National Park in Tenerife, Maspalomas Dunes in Gran Canaria, Timanfaya National Park in Lanzarote, and the historic town of La Laguna in Tenerife.

Is it safe to travel to the Canary Islands?

Yes, the Canary Islands are generally considered safe for tourists. However, it is always a good idea to take standard precautions and be aware of your surroundings, especially in crowded tourist areas.

What are the Canary Islands known for?

The Canary Islands are known for their beautiful beaches, volcanic landscapes, and vibrant culture. They are also a popular destination for surfing, hiking, and other outdoor activities.

What is the best time of year to visit the Canary Islands?

The best time to visit the Canary Islands is during the spring or autumn when the weather is mild and there are fewer tourists. However, the islands have a pleasant climate year-round, so you can visit any time depending on your preferences.

Are the Canary Islands part of Spain?

Yes, the Canary Islands are a Spanish archipelago located off the northwest coast of Africa. They are an autonomous community of Spain and have their own government and institutions.